Despite Russell Wilson’s leg injury during the third quarter, the Seahawks showed plenty of flashes of their old selves on offense and defense in a 37-18 win over the 49ers on Sunday.
On the kind of fall Seattle day when one really could almost see forever, coach Pete Carroll was glad the Seahawks as he knows them finally came back into view.
“This was a really good day for us,” Carroll said after the Seahawks’ 37-18 victory Sunday over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field that was sparked by a big-play offense that in the first 11 minutes doubled the amount of touchdowns Seattle had scored in its first two games.
“We needed this badly. It really feels to me like we’ve started.”
Even if for a few moments in the third quarter, everyone’s heart stopped.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, already playing with a high right ankle sprain that occured in the first game of the season, suffered a sprained left knee when he was sacked on a horse-collar tackle by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. He was forced to leave a game due to injury for the first time since joining the Seahawks in 2012.
Wilson is scheduled to have an MRI exam and other tests done over the next 24 hours.
Wilson, though, insisted he’ll be fine saying, “I’ll be good to go” for the game next Sunday at the New York Jets.
“I don’t think it’s as severe as it may have looked, thank God,” Wilson said. “We’ll do some tests and check all that stuff out, but I’m walking fine and all that and moving it well and got good mobility.”
Wilson’s health wasn’t the only reason for some postgame angst.
Several star defensive players were unhappy with the way the game ended, as the 49ers scored two touchdowns in the final 7:50.
Cornerback Richard Sherman wouldn’t talk to reporters afterward, apparently due to his frustration over the finish.
“We gave up too many points at the end,” defensive end Cliff Avril said of a defense that had allowed just one touchdown in the first 11 quarters of the season before San Francisco’s Carlos Hyde scored two — each on 8-yard runs — in the fourth quarter.
“That’s not our type of football. That’s not what we do. That’s not what we pride ourselves on and that’s good. That shows you the passion that we have and we’ve got to continue getting better.”
That the Seahawks could be so angry after a blowout victory of a divisional rival, though, might have been the clearest sign yet that things were back to normal.
It took the offense only three plays Sunday to show that the sluggish outings of the first two games — when Seattle was held to 15 points combined against the Dolphins and Rams — were a thing of the past.
On the second play, Wilson audibled to a pass and hit Doug Baldwin for 34 yards.
On the third play, Christine Michael burst through a huge hole on the left side — where Seattle had consistent success all day — to score a 41-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
“Untouched,” Michael marveled later. “It was amazing.”
A pretty apt description for the rest of the half as the Seahawks used big plays to convert four third-and-10s or longer in blowing the game open.
On their second drive, the Seahawks converted a third-and-10 and third-and-15 to lead to another Michael touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
After a brief respite — a punt and a fumble — Seattle struck again, a 59-yard pass to Baldwin converting a third-and-14 leading to an 18-yard touchdown from Wilson to Jimmy Graham. On the next drive, a 40-yard pass from Wilson to Graham — when Wilson threw a jump ball to Graham into double coverage after seeing the 49ers jump offsides — converted a third-and-17 and led to a field goal and a 24-3 lead.
Baldwin and Graham each had 100 or more yards receiving by halftime, Baldwin ultimately setting a career high with 164 yards. Michael also set a career-high with 106 yards rushing.
The Seahawks, averaging 329 offensive yards in the first two games, had 311 at halftime, finishing with 418. The Seahawks, held to an uncharacteristic 64 yards rushing last week, finished with 127 on the ground to mix with 291 passing.
“We found that feeling about mixing the running game and converting on third down and riding a defense that is playing terrific football,” Carroll said.
The defense, meanwhile, held the 49ers without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter, and just 4 of 15 overall, with the 49ers going three-and-out on five of their first 10 possessions and punting on seven of the first 10.
It was an impressive performance even if the end got a little messy, which also was Carroll’s word to describe the play on which Wilson was hurt.
“He tried to get out and he got tangled up and he was just fortunate,” Carroll said. “He was lucky. He lucked out that it wasn’t worse.”
Harold mostly seemed irked that the refs threw a flag.
“I tackled him and it was done,” Harold said. “That’s all that needs to be said. This is a league where they protect the quarterbacks at all cost and I think that’s why they threw the flag.”
Wilson spent his postgame news conference insisting he’ll be fine, saying he felt good enough that he could have kept playing if needed.
The defense felt the pain that Wilson’s knee apparently didn’t, despite the lopsided score. All of which left Michael Bennett a little confused.
“I don’t know why everyone is so mad,” he said. “When you win, you win. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”
|Cure all for Seahawks|
|Sunday marked Pete Carroll’s fifth consecutive win over the 49ers. Carroll is 8-5 vs. San Francisco since joining the Seahawks, not including the NFC title game following the 2013 season.|
|Nov. 22, 2015||Won, 29-13 at CenturyLink Field|
|Oct. 22, 2015||Won, 20-3 at Levi’s Stadium|
|Dec. 14, 2014||Won, 17-7 at CenturyLink Field|
|Nov. 27, 2014||Won, 19-3 at Levi’s Stadium|
|Dec. 8, 2013||Lost, 19-17 at Candlestick Park|
|Sept. 15, 2013||Won, 29-3 at CenturyLink Field|
|Dec. 23, 2012||Won, 42-13 at CenturyLink Field|
|Oct. 18, 2012||Lost, 13-6 at Candlestick Park|
|Dec. 24, 2011||Lost, 19-17 at CenturyLink Field|
|Sept. 11, 2011||Lost, 33-17 at Candlestick Park|
|Dec. 12, 2010||Lost, 40-21 at Candlestick Park|
|Sept. 12, 2010||Won, 31-6 at CenturyLink Field|